Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brody's Scribbles... Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto. Have We Made Progress Since 1971? (Part 17)

By Tim Trent (Dartmouth, England) MAR 22 | The more I read the Gay Liberation Front 1971 Manifesto the more I feel that it's the product of some insane, inane committee. We're on the home straight now. Oh lord, that sounds like a poor pun. Today's segment is a rant about committed relationships, something that in view of today's pressure for Gay Marriage and proper partner benefits and visitation rights and rules of inheritance, is at best an anachronism and at worst the outpourings of fashion.
Again verbatim:
We do not deny that it is as possible for gay couples as for some straight couples to live happily and constructively together. We question however as an ideal, the finding and settling down eternally with one 'right' partner. This is the blueprint of the straight world which gay people have taken over. It is inevitably a parody, since they haven't even the justification of straight couples-the need to provide a stable environment for their children (though in any case we believe that the suffocating small family unit is by no means the best atmosphere for bringing up children.
Monogamy is usually based on ownership-the woman sells her services to the man in return for security for herself and her children-and is entirely bound up in the man's idea of property furthermore in our society the monogamous couple, with or without children, is an isolated, shut-in, up-tight unit, suspicious of and hostile to outsiders. And though we don't lay down rules or tell gay people how they should behave in bed or in their relationships, we do want them to question society's blueprint for the couple. The blueprint says 'we two against the world', and that can be protective and comforting. But it can also be suffocating, leading to neurotic dependence and underlying hostility, the emotional dishonesty of staying in the comfy safety of the home and garden, the security and narrowness of the life built for two, with the secret guilt of fancying someone else while remaining in thrall to the idea that true love lasts a lifetime-as though there were a ration of relationships, and to want more than one were greedy. Not that sexual fidelity is necessarily wrong; what is wrong is the inturned emotional exclusiveness of the couple which students the partners so they can no longer operate at all as independent beings in society. People need a variety of relationships in order to develop and grow, and to learn about other human beings.
It is especially important for gay people to stop copying straight - we are the ones who have the best opportunities to create a new lifestyle and if we don't, no one else will. Also, we need one another more than straight people do, because we are equals suffering under an insidious oppression from a society too primitive to come to terms with the freedom we represent. Singly, or isolated in couples, we are weak-the way society wants us to be. Society cannot put us down so easily if we fuse together. We have to get together, understand one another, live together.
Two ways we can do this are by developing consciousness-raising groups and gay communes.
Our gay communes and collectives must not be mere convenient living arrangements or worse, just extensions of the gay ghetto. They must be a focus of consciousness-raising lie. raising or increasing our awareness of our real oppression} and of gay liberation activity, a new focal point for members of the gay community. It won't be easy, because this society is hostile to communal living. And besides the practical hang-ups of finding money and a place large enough for a collective to live in, there are our own personal hang-ups: we have to change our attitudes to our personal property, to our lovers, to our day-to day priorities in work and leisure, even to our need for privacy.
But victory will come. If we're convinced of the importance of the new life-style, we can be strong and we can win through.
I'm not going to tell Elton John and David Furnish that they are living a parody, are you?
John and partner David Furnish entered a civil partnership in 2005 after 12 years together. Their son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born 25 December 2010 in California via a surrogate. Zachary weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces. - Wikipedia
The problem is that any analysis is likely to be dismissive of everything. Concealed within this hogwash are some truths. The history of marriage, monogamous or otherwise, is reasonably accurately depicted. However the entire segment appears to try to sell and justify casual relationships. Without stating this as a moral judgment, in the era post HIV multiple casual relationships are, infection-wise, a bad idea.
I find the whole text to be a self justifying sales pitch. LGBT people are not better than or worse than, of those are the right words, heterosexual people. LGBT people are people in the same manner that heterosexual people are people. Those who wish to have casual relationships or promiscuous relationships or both in either grouping are as welcome to do so as the others are welcome to commit to one, maybe more than one, person. What offends me is trying to sell the idea that those who sleep around are, or ought to be, the norm.
We have certainly made progress since 1971, and that progress is diametrically opposed to this manifesto. I see that as a good thing. But I am neither right nor wrong. It is an opinion, simply an opinion.
To back my opinion up I can say with clarity that the creed of casual sex proposed by this manifesto kept me in the closet, kept me ashamed to be gay.